Partnering with the Business

Michelle Scheer of Thomson Reuters talks about the lessons of project management.

Michelle Scheer, vice president for finance at Thomson Reuters, is at home in the matrix. “Thomson Reuters has a matrix style of management,” she explains. “Instead of being organized into divisions, all with their own finance departments, we have five different product lines and five heads of those product lines, but we also have functional leaders, like myself, who manage things across all the product lines.”

This style of organization can make things challenging, Scheer says, but she calls that a good thing, because it means she and other functional leaders are always trying to manage all the product lines and “looking to see where the growth areas are.”

Is there a downside?
Yes. Implementing expense controls. I don’t enjoy telling people they can’t spend money on an initiative that on its own might make sense. This company has grown through acquisitions, and people come up with good ideas all the time. Part of my role is to have the company focus on things that make the most sense, and sometimes I just have to say no.

What helped you get your career on the fast track?
It really hasn’t been any one thing. I have always tried to do my best in every role I’ve had. Over time, that gets noticed. I have also definitely benefitted from having sponsors who have given me stretch opportunities. My current position is an example of that. Before this, I’ve been in corporate-level positions, and I’ve been interested in moving into a more operational role in the company. I was made aware of this position, and had a sponsor who encouraged me to take it on.

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